But how could such a wallflower serve as a credible talk host? Baldwin seems far too mild to succeed in the rough-and-tumble of cable news, or so a skeptic might say.
We here at Showtracker have scoured Baldwin's past, however, and discovered that in fact there is some evidence that he could bring some little-known skills to his latest gig. Maybe he's not the next Oprah, but he could definitely surprise us all.
1. He's a relationship expert.
You may not know this, but Baldwin is a practitioner of innovative family-enhancing theories. When he was frustrated in 2007 because he felt that his then-11-year-old daughter was avoiding his phone calls, he didn't do the obvious thing, which would have been to punch a photographer. No, he manned up and left a message for his daughter in which he called her a "rude, thoughtless little pig." After the world learned of his groundbreaking approach (via a TMZ leak), Baldwin expounded further on "The View": "Obviously, calling your child a pig or anything else is improper and inappropriate," he theorized.
2. He respects the media.
Speaking of those photographers: Baldwin understands that they need to be punched, which has proven over the years to be an effective media-relations tactic. Which is why he's often caught doing it - punching them, that is. But really, why stop with photographers? Baldwin is bringing a nuanced understanding of the entire newsgathering world to his new job. That's why he was able to offer "The View" cohosts this penetrating, Marshall McLuhan-like insight: "People in the tabloid media are themselves people who are abused and are people who are living with shameful secrets."
3. He supports gay rights.
As a lifelong liberal, Baldwin realizes how vital it is to support LGBT rights. That's why after a British reporter wrote (apparently erroneously) that Baldwin's wife was tweeting during the funeral services for James Gandolfini, the actor reached out to him to correct the error by referring to the reporter on Twitter as "a toxic little queen." Furthering the outreach effort, he added that he would apply his foot to the reporter's backside, "but I'm sure you'd dig it too much."
4. He loves to travel.
You can't stop this cosmopolitan man from globetrotting. Or from playing Words With Friends. American Airlines tried to on a 2011 flight and he refused to put his cellphone away. This escalated into a showdown that ended with the captain having Baldwin kicked off the plane. The actor then showed off his chops as an apostle for global understanding by calling American the place "where retired Catholic school gym teachers from the 1950's find jobs as flight attendants."
5. He likes to throw cold beverages on strangers.
On his Web show "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," Jerry Seinfeld asked Baldwin what was the worst thing he ever did to someone who totally deserved it. Baldwin could have retreated into some New Age mumbo-jumbo about how he regrets doing anything bad to anyone, but no. Baldwin recollected a time when some young guys mouthed off to him as he was stopped in a nearby car. He responded by flinging an iced coffee into their general direction. Which, of course, would be the perfect way to get a recalcitrant guest to open right up and tell him everything on his new show.
Will you watch Baldwin on MSNBC?